When I was young, I wanted to be a nun. Why? Because I thought it was the only way to make a difference and help people. I was overly emotional as a child and still am today, but in a more womanly manner. 🙂 If I can recall clearly, I started praying around age four and have not stopped praying since. I came from a very Catholic family. My father had two older sisters who were nuns and I believe he also studied in the priesthood until he met my mother. That’s how my 6 siblings and I came into this world.
This this the original picture frame that was given to me by a Carmelite nun in Vietnam when I was 7 years old. It’s been with me since then. I even remember holding it close to my heart and praying for a big ship to come and save us while we were floating at sea for days without food and water. It was faith and the belief in God and higher power that gave me courage. I remember fear was nowhere within me, just strength and faith.
My patron saint is St. Therese de Lisieux, a French Carmelite nun who was enlightened by God’s words and placed love at the center of everything. I remember my mother taking me to visit the Carmelite Convent outside of Nha Trang. I dreamt about being old enought to enter the convent as a Carmelite nun and then help the world. Even at that young age, I had a lot of love and compassion for the poor, the needy, the unfortunate, the crippled, the abandoned, the elderly, the strayed animals, the homeless children, the dying plants….basically anything and anyone that needs love and help. I used to get very emotional and upset when I saw a homeless or crippled people in the streets and would ask my parents why God would le such people suffer. My mother’s wish was to send me to the convent so I would not have to endure the challenges that life brings. She thought I was too trusting and delicate and that people might take advantage of me. (little did she know that later in my adult years a gentleman I once dated called me “Iron fist in a velvet glove”.)
I have learned many lessons along the way to be where I am today, but one thing I can tell you is that if I did not have prayer in my everyday life, I would be a lost and lonely soul today.
Praying gave me the inner strength to endure all those difficult times my family tried to escape Vietnam, running and hiding from the Communists. Even when we had little food and no permanent shelter, I still prayed because deep down inside, I knew it was only temporary and that God would take care of us. And so he did! We are all here in The States today safe, sound, and very healthy!
After my morning prayer and meditation, I like to begin my day by reading a page from this book for inspiration.
Although I may not be a very devoted church-going and religious Catholic today, I have never allowed God to slip away from within me. When I pray, I feel a sense of peace and purpose for my life. It also reduces my stress. And when I am happy, I pray to God and I thank Him for being by my side and always watching over my family and I. Not to mention that He also watches over Nini (my 16 year-old voluptuous chihuahua) and has blessed her with a long and healthy life, because today she is so active that people still call her a puppy. 🙂
If your life is full of stress right now, if you have not done so, try praying and meditation. Let me know how you feel along the way. Make sure you have faith and trust in God and the universe to bring you good and all will be alright.
Peace, Love, and Happiness…tu-anh
P.S. If you are wondering if I still want to become a nun, the answer is NO…because I fell in love with high heels, dresses, make-up…you know, FASHION! And even worse in College…BOYS…and now MEN! 😉